Church planting conference has new name, new focus

Church of the Brethren Newsline
February 8, 2018

The Church of the Brethren’s every-other-year conference on new church development has a new name and a new focus: “New and Renew: Revitalize Plant Grow.” Sponsored by Congregational Life Ministries and held at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., the conference is planned for May 16-19. “The Risk and Reward of Embodying Jesus Locally” is the theme.

“Risk. Ask any church planter, and one of the first things they are likely to tell you is that it takes great deal of risk to enter into the difficult work of planting a new church. God took a risk sending Christ into the world, to move into the neighborhood with us,” explains the description on the event webpage.

“Come and explore with us the ways that we can do risk well as we go about the work of planting new communities of faith across our country and the world. Share your own experiences of risk in the work of church planting, as well as hearing how others have handled the risks and challenges of this important work.”

Keynote speakers are Christiana Rice and Orlando Crespo. Rice leads a neighborhood faith community in San Diego, Calif., and is a coach and trainer with Thresholds, a community that helps people create spaces of discovery and communities of transformation. With Michael Frost she has co-authored “To Alter Your World: Partnering with God to Rebirth Our Communities.” Crespo helped plant and serves as a founding pastor of New Life in the Bronx Church, and is interim director of Multiethnic Ministries and director of LaFe, Latino Ministries, with Intervarsity. He is author of “Being Latino in Christ.”

Samuel Sarpiya, 2018 Annual Conference moderator and planter of Rockford (Ill.) Community Church of the Brethren, will be giving a keynote address and a closing sermon drawing on his theme of “Living Parables.”

The conference is organized by staff of Congregational Life Ministries Stan Dueck and Gimbiya Kettering, with help from the Church of the Brethren’s New Church Advisory Committee. Members of the committee include Rudy Amaya, Ryan Braught, Steve Gregory, Don Mitchell, Deb Oskin, Nate Polzin, Cesia Salcedo, and Doug Veal.

Cost is $130 for each registration through April 10, or $140 after that date. Current students of Bethany Seminary, the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, and SeBAH-CoB receive a discounted price of $79. Continuing education credit for ordained ministers will be available for an additional $10. Registration does not cover housing costs; attendees are responsible for making their own housing arrangements.

Find out more and register at

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